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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 251 pages of information about The Banquet (Il Convito).

Then it must be Prudent, that is to say, Wise.  And, in order to be this, a good memory of the things which have been seen is requisite, and a good knowledge of present things, and good foresight for things of the future.  And, as the Philosopher says in the sixth book of Ethics, it is impossible for the man who is not good to be wise; and therefore he is not to be called a wise man who acts with cunning and with deception, but he is to be called an astute man.  As no one would call him a wise man who might indeed know how to draw with the point of a knife in the pupil of the eye, even so he is not to be called a wise man who knows how to do a bad thing well, in the doing of which he must always first injure some other person.  If we consider well, good counsel springs from Prudence, which leads or guides a man, and other men, to a good end in human affairs.  And this is that gift which Solomon, perceiving himself to be placed as ruler over the people, asked of God, even as it is written in the Third Book of Kings; nor does the prudent man wait for counsel to be asked of him; but of himself, foreseeing the need for it, unasked he gives counsel or advice; like the rose, which not only to him who goes to her for her sweet odour freely gives it, but also to any one who passes near.

Here it would be possible for any doctor or lawyer to say:  Then shall I carry my counsel or advice, and shall I give it even before it be asked of me, and shall I not reap fruit from my art or skill?  I reply in the words of our Saviour:  “Freely ye have received, freely give.”  I say, then, Master Lawyer, that those counsels which have no respect to thine art, and which proceed alone from that good sense or wisdom which God gave thee (which is the prudence of which we speak), thou oughtest not to sell to the sons or children of Him who has given it to thee.  But those counsels which belong to the art which thou hast purchased, thou mayst sell; but not in such a way but that at any time the tenth part of them may be fitly set apart and given unto God, that is, to those unhappy ones to whom the Divine protection is all that is left.

Likewise at this age it is right to be Just, in order that the judgments and the authority of the man may be a light and a law to other men.  And because this particular Virtue, that is to say, Justice, was seen by the ancient philosophers to appear perfect in men of this age, they entrusted the government of the cities to those men who had attained that age; and therefore the college of Rectors was called the Senate.  Oh, my unhappy, unhappy country! how my heart is wrung with pity for thee whenever I read, whenever I write, anything which may have reference to Civil Government!  But since in the last treatise of this book Justice will be discussed, to the present let this slight notice of it suffice.

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